A friend recently recommended a Szechuan hot pot place here in Phnom Penh, De Yue Lou, which is one of the big neon sign Chinese restaurants on Monivong close to Mao Tse Toung. So we got a big group together and checked it out last night.
I’m a big fan of spicy food but Szechuan hot pot is insanely spicy. The pot is divided down the middle, half with a neutral broth and half filled with chili peppers and Szechuan peppercorns. The waitress warned us not to eat the peppercorns which were a bit sour but the combination of the peppercorn and chili’s has a great flavor.
The De Yue Lou menu is in Chinese and Khmer only and no one working there spoke English, at least when we were there. So our ordering consisted of broken Khmer and pointing at food on other tables which worked out great. The waitress was also really nice and happy to try and help with our weird requests. At one point, my friend Bryan asked how much the shrimp costs and she left and returned with a live shrimp wiggling in her hand to show us. Not exactly what we were asking but it was an impressive shrimp.
The soup comes with just the broth and they you order the ingredients. We didn’t really know what to order but eventually a bunch of food came out including shrimp, mushrooms, lettuce, bok choy, dried tofu, beef, meat and fish balls and congealed blood (which we didn’t add).
We threw everything in, let is simmer for a while then dove in. Those of us that liked the spicy side struggled through coughs and tears to eat but it was really tasty. One friend commented that the szechuan spice hits you differently than what he was used to after living in Bangkok. Even the shrimp quickly boiled in the spicy broth came out really spicy. In the end we just mixing the two together to cut the spice a bit which worked well. I’ll definitely be back after I recover.
De Yue Lou – On Monivong just North of Mao Tse Toung next to ABC Bakery
The photos for this post were taken by Dylan Maddux.